Disruption of Gallbladder Smoth Muscle Function is an Early Feature in the Development of Cholesterol Gallstone Disease

B Lavoie, B Nausch, E Zane, M Leonard, O Balemba, A Bartoo, R Wilcox, MT Nelson, MC Carey, G Mawe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    BACKGROUND; Decreased gallbladder smooth muscle (GBSM) contractility is a hallmark of cholesterol gallstone disease, but the interrelationship between lithogenicity, biliary stasis, and inflammation are poorly understood. We studied a mouse model of gallstone disease to evaluate the development of GBSM dysfunction relative to changes in bile composition and the onset of sterile cholecystitis. METHODS: BALB/cJ mice were fed a lithogenic diet for up to 8 weeks, and tension generated by gallbladder muscle strips was measured. Smooth muscle Ca(2+) transients were imaged in intact gallbladder. KEY RESULTS: Lipid composition of bile was altered lithogenically as early as 1 week, with increased hydrophobicity and cholesterol saturation indexes; however, inflammation was not detectable until the fourth week. Agonist-induced contractility was reduced from weeks 2 through 8. GBSM normally exhibits rhythmic synchronized Ca(2+) flashes, and their frequency is increased by carbachol (3 μm). After 1 week, lithogenic diet-fed mice exhibited disrupted Ca(2+) flash activity, manifesting as clustered flashes, asynchronous flashes, or prolonged quiescent periods. These changes could lead to a depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) stores, which are required for agonist-induced contraction, and diminished basal tone of the organ. Responsiveness of Ca(2+) transients to carbachol was reduced in mice on the lithogenic diet, particularly after 4-8 weeks, concomitant with appearance of mucosal inflammatory changes. CONCLUSIONS & INFERENCES: These observations demonstrate that GBSM dysfunction is an early event in the progression of cholesterol gallstone disease and that it precedes mucosal inflammation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)313-329
    Number of pages17
    JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2012


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